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Monday, February 25, 2013

Snow Day!

The calm after the storm prevailed, early this morning.
Trees drooped under the weight of the snow.
Because the trails weren't packed down very much, snow biking was slow and laborious. I enjoyed many breaks watching Shyla play in her first really deep snow.
Actually, she wasn't stuck in the deep snow in the photo above, although it might look that way. When I released her to play, she shot like a rocket through the powder.
She was fully submerged a few times, emerging as a hilarious "snowdog"!
But, she mainly stayed above the snow surface...
I've been in a phase of not teaching her new tricks but allowing her to consolidate her knowledge of the many tricks that I've taught her over the past month. One funny thing has evolved as we've practiced her tricks. She now waves to me whenever I wave to her (with no verbal cue)! It makes me laugh every single time!
Part of the reason why I've held off on teaching new tricks is that my pain has made me grumpy. And, in clicker training, being grumpy is not good. The whole underpinning of clicker training is that it's fun, and your dog never gets punished - not even verbally or by hearing you sigh in frustration. Your dog gets rewarded for doing good things and the only repercussion for making a wrong choice is that your dog doesn't get a click and treat.

Because Shyla is so sensitive, I see the difference in her when I'm grumpy. She seems to worry more about "making a mistake". So, I try to avoid training, especially teaching new behaviors. For the past two days, the pain has been easing for short periods so I started a new trick with Shyla today while I felt decent. The trick is that she covers her eyes with a paw. We made progress on it, and I'm hoping that I'll be showing you the trick sometime soon!

Shyla is so smart and trainable, as long as she's not in a stressful place like town. I'm trying something new to bring out her confidence when we're in town - I take short and frequent breaks in quiet spots to let her do her tricks, and I praise her lavishly for each one. I think it's helping a bit because she loves her tricks.
Tomorrow should be a very different day here in the mountains. The sun caused "snow bombs" to fall out of the trees this afternoon, creating a mystical aura in the forest and leaving bare branches.
It's our first major snowstorm yet we've already reached the springtime pattern of very rapid melting after the snow. What an odd year...


  1. Shyla looks like she is having so much fun! I know she is. Hoping you continue to get longer and longer breaks from the pain.

  2. Oh my goodness Shyla is truly at home in the snow. You just can't help but smile. We have more snow coing tonight and tomorrow. Seems for us it is never ending. I'll try to blow some more your way.

  3. It's been a crazy winter here, too! We're just now getting our first and second wicked snowstorms, and I'm really not in the mood for them now. lol

    K was always so dignified, I love that Shyla will share her silly, playful side! You know that one day, she's going to shred some paper in the house and you'll walk in to scold her and then she'll wave at you and it will be game, set and match! What a smart little cookie she is. I laughed out loud at the snow dog picture!

    Does this mean she was the Snow Queen for the DDC today? :P

  4. So beautiful! What treats do you use for Shyla's training? Or is she more prey/toy driven?
    Nola's Mom

  5. Stunning photos. I love Shyla and her adventures, but my goodness, you have such an eye for photos my friend.

    Stunning, just doesnt' seem to be a good enough word.

    Bert's My Vickie

  6. When Shyla waves, it makes me smile too!! I just love her antics in the snow!!! Gorgeous snow pics! We under a snow watch for tomorrow here...guess spring is a LONG way off! Hope you are feeling better today!

  7. Great post and photos!!! Waving back to Shyla :)

  8. Photos and treats, and new things to show us what a clever girl she is, with all the TLC, clickers, treats and more, she has come such a long way. Yes, our pets pick up when health is not good, she will know you are in pain, hope it gets sorted soon.lovely snow photos as always, superb, stunning, wonderful, none is really ample praise. Cheers from Jean. ( p.s. see you in 3 weeks)

  9. Shyla is truly amazing! We love watching her play and frolic in the snow. But seeing her wave to you is pawsome.

    We hope that with all your Dr's appt's, one of them is able to help your back.

    Hope that R is doing well :)

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  10. You are SO right about training when you feel grumpy. I definitely see a difference in Jimmy when my patience isn't what it should be. If I get visibly frustrated, he just starts screaming at me, circling me. We both have to take five because we get nowhere fast! The very last thing I want is any negative feelings in the agility ring!

    I LOVE that last photo! What a gorgeous moment in time!

  11. Some buddy is having an awful lot of fun in that snow.
    Benny & Lily

  12. Lol - dogs are SO not bothered by snow covering them. Love it - she looks so happy!!

  13. Your snow pictures are just awesome, KB! We love that you wave to Shyla and she waves back!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  14. Lovely pictures from your snow world, Shyla seems to like it

  15. Hi there, I wonder if you got this new storm that hit us? Estes was beautiful over the weekend but oh so cold. Shyla is so smart-wow! So my friend, is it your back and neck causing the pain? Does the snow bother it more at all? We had fun snow shoeing and I though of you-biking in the snow. It is so different snow shoeing at altitude than it was in the Sierra's-much more work.
    Stay warm KB.

  16. Wow! The first and last photos are really special! And, of course, so are the Shyla shots! That's some deep snow you've got there! Have fun!

    Susan and Wrigs

  17. All the pictures are wonderful, KB, but the 5th one down is my very favorite... those eyes! Shyla will never be able to hide her exuberance for life as long as her eyes are open.

    I wish you wellness, dear friend. I am praying for you... and you are never far from thought or heart.


  18. I love it when she waves , she's so darn cute!!!

  19. Do you know what? We can feel the snow that you are showing us! We can smell it. We can feel the excitement!

  20. She is so darn adorable! Love the wave.

    Your pictures, as always, are spectacular.

    Your idea to give short breaks when in town is a good one and one we've learned to use with Bella. Bella loves to do her tricks so whenever we find ourselves in particularly stressful places, we put her through her paces.

    Of course, she didn't pay attention for quite a while but now that she's calming a bit, learning a lot and we've upped the treat ante, she will 'perform' in all but the most outrageously stressful situations. And we can watch her physically relax by having her focus directed on anything but the big scary.

    You can already see Shyla's attachment/trust in you in the pictures. She's going to be great.

    (Sorry about your pain. I can't believe you're snow-biking even in spite of it. You really are a marvel.)

  21. Lovely photos - Shyla looks like the world is her oyster :)

  22. I was wondering how you are doing with the pain. That last photo, the snow bomb, boy does that speak spring snow in Colorado!!!


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